CAPE TOWN – As Fix Forward continues to grow and expand, the relationships we have with our tradesmen become ever more important. We pride ourselves on delivering a quality service, as well as encouraging entrepreneurship, and we could not do that without our network of highly skilled tradesmen who have embarked on this journey with us. There from the very beginning, Kingstone Katuruza was our very first tradesman back in 2010 and has been with us ever since. We caught up with him to chat about his time with Fix Forward so far…
1) Tell us about yourself and how the journey at Fix Forward started?
Originally from Zimbabwe, I am 42 and proud to call myself a business owner that specializes in the painting industry. I found my passion in 1994 back when I was working for construction companies in my homeland. Although I grew in the field, I felt that I was being taken advantage of and not getting my fair rate. I came alone to South Africa seeking better opportunities for my family and of course to learn about how things worked over here.
I met Josh through one of the elders at my church that I had done a painting job for. At the time, I was standing at traffic lights with my roller and flyers ready, trying to meet new clients. Josh took me onboard and I started with the Fix Forward training courses shortly after. The team at Fix Forward acted as my mentors for more than a year – I gained so much confidence and skills in that time. Although I was always confident in my ability as a painter, the mentoring really developed my skills in other departments such as managing my admin, quoting and how to keep your clients happy in order to get referrals in return.
2) As Fix Forward’s longest serving tradesmen, how has your life changed since you joined the team?
My business officially kicked off in 2012 and at the time I was only getting clients in Somerset West. After getting the exposure through the Fix Forward website, I started getting jobs all over Cape Town! I was quite reliant on Fix Forward in the beginning with helping out but now I have the confidence and ability to gain new clients on my own.
Personally, Fix Forward has enabled me to bring my family over and now my daughters attend school here while my wife has also found a job. I couldn’t be happier!
3) What has been the most challenging thing for you on this journey?
Finding the bridge between me and the client was very tough, especially if you’re new to a country. Fix Forward really assisted with filling that gap and understanding cultural differences.
Now that I’ve built up that aspect of my professional service, I’d just like to get to a point where I am more recognized in the industry for taking on bigger contracts. This will allow me to employ more people full-time and reach new heights with my business.
4) When you meet new Tradesmen who have just joined Fix Forward, what advice do you give?
I try and live by three simple maxims, which I am always happy to pass on. 1) Keep It honest; 2) Have your agreements in place; and 3) Knowledge is power!
5) Where did you see yourself before joining Fix Forward?
I wanted to be a mechanic to be honest, but I saw opportunities with painting and it turns out I really enjoyed it too.
6) What are your future plans? Where do you see yourself personally and professionally in a few years time?
I’d like to start an empire! I want to own a few more family businesses after I reach optimal success with my painting business and Fix Forward. My wife is in the sewing and embroidery industry and we’re already investing in machinery.
But my biggest future plan is to return to my country and start initiatives to help my people such as widows and orphans – I’ll get there one day, I know it.